Updated: March 18, 2014 4:15PM
The definition of “friend” has changed. You can have an online “friend” you’ve never met and never intend to. You can have a frenemy. And today we meet Jed, a frully.
Susan, you might remember, met Jed on MySpace. She’s married and wasn’t looking for romance, just friendship. She has some serious health issues and isn’t able to work so she has time on her hands and uses the Internet to keep up with old friends and meet new ones.
Jed could be very sweet, by sending her flowers after surgery. But he could also be controlling and irrational at times.
“When I care for people, I have a tendency to ignore the warnings. I tell myself, ‘It’s nothing.’”
Then she caught him in some lies and confronted him. He responded by insulting her and had their mutual friends insult her, too. Susan reported the harassment to MySpace. Jed and company threatened to beat her up and even kill her. Susan didn’t want to involve the police because she says they “don’t protect women.”
Susan asked Jed and his friends to leave her alone. She says the harassment got worse. “Usually you hear of teens or young people doing this online bullying. But this man is 35. His friends are in their 30s and 40s.”
Susan started receiving hang-up phone calls. She’s blocked Jed and his cronies.
“I refuse to allow some disturbed man and his sick friends to scare me. I would just like to tell men and women to pay attention to their gut instinct and not ignore any red flags. Women, especially, have to go with their inner radar. Jed put on a good act for a long time. Now, he’s showing everyone just how cruel and disturbed he is.”
Susan is back to say the hang-ups continued, even after she blocked Jed and his friends. The calls were coming from Jed’s office. She blocked that number, too.
“My husband called the company and spoke to someone in charge. He explained how Jed started harassing me on Myspace and was now calling from his job. I suspect this is not the first problem they’ve had with him. I’m also sure I’m not the first woman he’s harassed.
“My husband told them that they need to put a stop to this and if we keep getting calls, we’ll take further action against Jed and the company because he’s making the calls on company phones. They took it very seriously. Since then, I haven’t had any more hang ups.
“I really think that what my husband did was more than the police would or could do. I also sent copies to Myspace of all the things Jed and his friends sent to me. So, this should put a stop to it and also teach them that they can’t bully another person without some kind of consequences.”
JULIE: Susan should also call the phone company and let them know that she’s being harassed. The phone company will work with her to collect data, and if they find evidence, they’ll contact the police for prosecution. Harassment over phone lines is a federal crime.
I also would advise her to be willing to speak with the police. Stalking laws have come a long way in recent years, and that is exactly what these people are doing.
Have you been a victim of cyberbullying? What did you do about it? Send your tale, along with your questions, problems and rants to firstname.lastname@example.org. And check out my new website askcheryl.net.